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Arts & Culture

Dario Robleto Named Artist In Residence For Program Of The Galactic Variety

It’s not first time the Houston artist has been invited to a discussion about communicating with life outside Earth.


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Picture of Dario Robleto
Dave Rossman
Dario Robleto with some of the components of his show “The Boundary of Life is Quietly Crossed” at The Menil Collection.

When it comes to combining the worlds of astronomy and art, Dario Robleto seems to be in high demand. In July, he was brought onboard for a program headed up by Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner, aimed at sending messages to life outside earth.

Now, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute – or SETI – wants him to help with a similar endeavor.

"The suggestion that Dario should be involved with this program came from several areas. It wasn't just from one person," says Charles Lindsay, founder of the organization's Artist in Residence program.

So, why are artists needed? Robleto sees it as an opportunity to provide fresh perspectives.

"I think when you analyze these things through the lens of art, new things come of it that wouldn't have come out otherwise," he says.

Robleto joins five other artists from around the country who've agreed to volunteer their time for two years. This Wednesday, they head out to the institute's home base in California.

"Some of the artists come in and say, ‘I would like to work with that scientist and be influenced by them,'" Lindsay explains, adding that they look for certain attributes when choosing who to include. "They have to be great artists, very curious people. But they also have to be people that can work in a group, people that are interested in things beyond themselves," says Lindsay. "So, not that old model of the fiercely independent, egomaniacal artist. Those are not the kind of artists that we're encouraging."

Robleto sees this trend of uniting the two fields becoming more common.

"I don't know if there's something bigger going on here, but in my experience, there have been more and more avenues and willingness from the sciences to engage with the artists," he says. "Because I often find that artists want to do that anyway... It's harder to get the sciences to figure out what we can contribute to them."

Some of the others involved in SETI's Artist in Residence program include a photographer, a filmmaker, and a choreographer.